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Go Back   Talk Budgies Forums > Budgie Talk > Your Budgie's Health


Your Budgie's Health Learn about avian health and vet care. This forum does not substitute for veterinary expertise.

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  #1  
Old 09-18-2017, 12:10 AM
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Default Adult male cere color change

Hello,

I've done a lot of research on this today and I'm scared my bird has cancer. I never noticed specifically when the change happened but it seems sudden as one day his cere was pink and another day I noticed it had turned a little brown. I noticed this probably late in June. I paid no mind as I always thought pink was for young males and as they aged, it would darken up a bit towards blue and his behavior didn't change in the slightest. He is about 5 years old.

Today I randomly had a thought to look into it and search my phone to pin point when it happened through photos and see if I can find a cause. I found a photo from March and one from June and his cere looks pink like it always did.
(I tried to embed photos but didn't show up. Possibly too large.)

March pic
https://imgur.com/DYnxCUB

June pic
https://imgur.com/TJebDoX

This pic is from early July. It's the best pic I have of his cere from this time.
https://imgur.com/hI9bUDs

I am pretty sure the change happened in July or late June given the photo dates. Below are pics of him today (he is starting to molt so that's why he has missing feathers on his face) and I don't think there is a difference between him today and him in July but I wish I had taken more pictures as I started to monitor it more since July to make sure it didn't get worse.
https://imgur.com/tUVKhZm
https://imgur.com/oSElSOt

Like I said above, his behavior has not changed at all but I read all sorts of things today about cancer being pretty common in parakeets and cere color change for an adult male is more often than not, related to cancer. However, all of the images I saw online of color change did not look like this and I could not find any images that show this browning on the bottom of the cere.

Last month, I moved 8 hours away for college and this was their (Bert, pictured above, and Ernie) first long car ride in the time I've had them. (5 and 3.5 years). I was worried how they would handle the trip, especially with the road being pretty bumpy for the last 3 hours, but they fared perfectly well. Ernie was getting visibly tired when we were two hours out still, trying to sleep but bumps kept him awake while Bert was just being Bert; talking to his mirror, eating some food, playing with some toys, the whole ride. So with that in mind, I have a hard time thinking he is ill and is covering it up well because that was a very exhausting trip and he took it just as well, if not better than Ernie who is, as far as I can tell, very healthy.

Now I know I should be going to the vet or should have gone immediately, but I am living off student loans at the moment, eating rice and beans with a very strict budget. I have maybe $100 to $200 of wiggle room until January but I am starting to get really worried. Does anyone have any similar experience or perhaps some sort of possible explanation? Any other possible signs I should be looking for?

I appreciate any input.
Thank you

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  #2  
Old 09-18-2017, 08:45 AM
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"Bert" looks very healthy, and is a female just going into breeding condition which means you're doing everything right. She is very beautiful. (you don't have to change her name)
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Old 09-18-2017, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philw View Post
"Bert" looks very healthy, and is a female just going into breeding condition which means you're doing everything right. She is very beautiful. (you don't have to change her name)
Thank you for your reply! As much as I want to believe you, is it common for it take 5 years for a female to go into breeding condition for the first time? I definitely wouldn't call myself an expert but he/she hasn't shown signs of being female thus far such as being territorial.

About 7 or 8 months ago, their cages were both moved into a walk-in closet that became their own room where they spent 75% or more of the waking day with their cages open and free to fly around. Previous to this, they would only spend 2 to 3 hours out a day when I had them in my room with me. Ernie, who I am certain is a male (very vibrant blue cere) would boss Bert around and I figured he was establishing himself as the alpha but for the most part, they got along and throughout the day they would go in their own cages, both in one or the other cage, or hang out on top of the closet door (their favorite spot). I bring this up because I read something about submissive males possibly showing this color change as some sort of defense mechanism. I couldn't find any definitive evidence for this but it does somewhat fit their timeline. If Bert is indeed a female, I would be very happy that there is no issue but I'm not sure if I'm ready to commit to that conclusion just yet. They also now live in a large flight cage together so I hope that doesn't cause any breeding issues.
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Old 09-18-2017, 01:30 PM
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Your bird appears female to me too, but I do know that some types of males will have a pink cere their whole life through. I am not a very good resource for determining what variant he/she might be, but a lot of other people on here are. I do believe it can take some time before they go "in condition" though. Earlier this spring, I had a male I've had for years go "in condition" for the first time that I had ever noticed and his normally bright blue cere turned WAY dark purple and almost appeared blackish to me. It scared the crap out of me too so I know how you feel right now. I also have that male housed with a female I originally thought to be male...I follow the rules of what to do when you don't want eggs(there's a thread for it somewhere on here)....so far I've had no issues as far as housing them together. Good luck for you and your budgies.
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Old 09-18-2017, 04:14 PM
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Breeding condition is caused by factors of good food supply and
proper light photo-period and usually the presence of an adult male.
In the wild, most wild budgies will pair off and begin planning for
kids in the second year....when the conditions are right.
Bert looks very healthy and if her behavior seems normal
and she's eating fine, I'd relax. Make sure you read on this site,the sticky on preventing eggs and young...mainly not providing anything that resembles a "box" or enclosed small space in their cage. We'll see what other folks think. Good luck.
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Old 09-18-2017, 06:05 PM
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I'm not sure, the first photos look very much like a male to me and it seem very unlikely for a hen to spend five years with a male cere.
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:16 PM
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Thank you all for the replies so far.

Like Tonic said, I am not convinced Bert is female but I am taking precautions for them not to breed. I even double checked my paperwork to make sure I am not exaggerating on the age and I've had Bert exactly 4 years and 6 months.

I want to believe Bert is female and there probably is a chance that a female can look like a male for a long time but my guess is that there is a higher chance that a parakeet around 5 years old, who's cere has suddenly changed color has some sort of hormonal issue that is most likely caused by testicular cancer. I don't want to be negative but I do want to be realistic. Hopefully we can get some more opinions while I figure out a vet visit.
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:30 PM
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I think a professional avian visit is going to be the most productive and useful thing in this scenario, seeing as it's unclear what exactly is going on.
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Old 09-19-2017, 04:42 PM
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I second Therm in taking him to a professional avian vet. You could even have his DNA checked to confirm if you really want solid proof of male or female; that being said lot of females don't go into condition for a variety of reasons and the stereotype against female budgies is just that - a stereotype and usually not true in my experience.
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Old 09-19-2017, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justmoira View Post
that being said lot of females don't go into condition for a variety of reasons and the stereotype against female budgies is just that - a stereotype and usually not true in my experience.
That is true, but an out of condition female would have a chalky white or pale blue cere. A translucent pink cere (which is what I am seeing in the pictures) is not normal for a hen at any stage other than as a baby.
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